The Twelve Core Values of the Inupiaq People - How do they fit in your Life?: A Writing Lesson

The Twelve Core Values of the Iñupiat

The Twelve Core Values of the Iñupiat are considered essential, especially to people who follow the traditional way of life that involves hunting for subsistence. They are also important for any person who lives in this harsh area of the world where it stays dark for many months, and then turns light for the same amount of time. The core values help people to stay involved with the community. 


Please watch the video. Each value has a quote that is attached to it. I saw these values and quotes on posters throughout the Ilisaġvik College Campus.

Although the core values may seem self explanatory, students need to discuss each one in order to understand its importance. My students came up with the following short  explanations for each one.


  • Avoidance of Conflict - try not to argue or fight

  • Humility - don't brag or be boastful

  • Spirituality - individual beliefs about God or the creator

  • Cooperation - willingly working together

  • Compassion - understanding, kindness and love for others

  • Hunting Traditions - following traditions and rules of hunting in order for the hunt to be successful

  • Knowledge of Language - It is important to know your language in order to better understand your culture

  • Sharing - willingly offering the use of one's possessions to another person 

  • Family and Kinship - love of family and the knowledge of who one's relatives are

  • Humor - ability to laugh at something without hurting somebody's feelings, joking

  • Respect for Elders and for each other - it is important to listen and learn from people who are experienced

  • Respect for nature - the earth and its inhabitants deserve to be healthy because this is home

Throughout the week, I witnessed the core values being used in everyday life. People referred to them in their actions and words. In this video Nagruk and Qaiyaan work together to make a tool which can be used for hunting seal. I thought that several core values were exhibited here: cooperation, humility, hunting traditions, family and kinship, knowledge of language, and humor.

The ten days I spent camping on the tundra in Alaska was the most memorable experience of my life. I am so grateful to everyone who shared their knowledge with me!